LINCOLN — More than 100 roadside markers across the state will be repaired or replaced as the result of the generosity of Nebraskans.
Contributions of more than $80,000 to the Nebraska Marker Project will pay for repairs and replacement of the cast metal plaques that tell the story of the state’s historic places.
Nebraska has 550 of these markers. About 20 percent need repairs due mostly to weather and vandalism.
The Nebraska Marker Project was sponsored by the Nebraska State Historical Society (NSHS) Foundation, a non-profit foundation. Established in 1942, the Foundation handles donations and estate gifts that support the cause of history.
Most of the 363 Marker gifts ranged from $1 to $1,000, with the vast majority of those coming from individual donors.
TransCanada, NextEra Energy, and Nebraska Farm Bureau Services were the leading corporate/business donors, contributing a combined $30,000 to the campaign.
The capstone gift of $20,000 came from the Dillon Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in Lincoln which has long supported historical and community projects in Nebraska. Donald Dillon, originally from western Nebraska, has made many cross state journeys and said he felt the upgrades were both important and needed. “I think of how often I took the time to stop to read markers simply because they were eye-catching. A sleek, well-maintained historical marker has always been a powerful invitation to me when I traveled and I cannot remember being disappointed for stopping.”
The campaign was the original concept of Michael "O.J." Nelson, past president of the NSHS Foundation Board. "These donations demonstrate how important history is to Nebraskans," said Nelson. "Each marker tells a story of a community and, taken together, they tell the story of our state."
About 30 markers have been repaired or replaced by the NSHS since the Foundation announced the drive in 2016.
The cost of each repair varies with the condition of the marker, and can range up to $6,000 for full replacement. Those yet to be fixed will be scheduled in groups, based on location, type of repair or severity of damage.
Keeping up with the repairs will be an ongoing process, Nelson said, so the NSHS Foundation continues to encourage Marker Project donations.
Donations are welcome online at https://www.nshsf.org/the-nebraska-marker-project/ or by mail at “NSHS Foundation Marker Project,” 128 N 13th Street, Suite 1010, Lincoln, NE 68508. For more information, call (402) 435-3535.
About the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation
The Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation is a 501 (C3) nonprofit that fundraises from individuals and organizations to secure funds for the cause of Nebraska History. The Nebraska State Historical Society works to preserve the unique history of the state and make it easily accessible for generations to come.
For more information, contact Leslie Fattig, Executive Director at 402.435.3535 or Lfattig@nshsf.org.